It is a pleasure to get better acquainted with Colin Coffey, a licensed massage therapist and owner of Renewing Massage who definitely makes people’s lives better.
Q ~ What did your parents do and what lesson did you learn from them?
A ~ My parent’s left Ireland as teenagers to find work in England, mum as a maid and my dad in construction. Working-class people have to work for everything, there is no inheritance, no trust funds and no back-up except your own hard work and whatever trades unions can fight, win and hold for us collectively.
Q ~ Did anything from your childhood lead to what you are doing today or not?
A ~ Since both my parents worked in the National Health Service in England as nursing assistants and massage therapy is a practical, traditional healthcare service, perhaps there was some imprinting there!
Q ~ Who are your mentors, heroes or role models?
A ~ Over the past 16 years I’ve gotten to know and see how my father-in-law Gary has been a great father, husband and devoted grandfather with hard work, consistency, love and a terrible corny sense of humor!
Q ~ What obstacles have you overcome? What was your lowest moment?
A ~ I had to navigate an 18-year immigration process to become a US citizen because gay people used to be barred from marrying. Coming from an immigrant working-class, single parent family yet getting a full government scholarship to attend an elite UK university (Sussex), graduating and succeeding in that environment was challenging. Lowest moment? Final interview for U.S. citizenship being told “3 speeding tickets indicate a lack of respect for our laws - I’m unable to approve your citizenship application and have to refer your application to a supervisor” – this after 15 years contributing to the U.S. as a taxpayer, two weeks later I received a computer generated notice saying to report for swearing in as a U.S. citizen.
Q ~ Family, pets, and how they do or don’t relate to your business dreams.
A ~ 53 years of age; married 10 years to my husband Michael Brundage who teaches in RCSD; a naturalized US citizen for 10 years; current business owner of Renewing-Massage for 10 years. We have a twoyear- old Pitbull mix Luna (aka Tuna for rhyming Cockney slang for Luna). Only with my husband, my mother and father-in-law (Mary and Gary) could I have created, maintained and developed our businesses.
Q ~ Goals for this year and beyond?
A ~ Maintaining good health physically and mentally. Keep focused on my 5-year, 10-year and 15-year goals. Continue to find practical ways to support the communities we live in. To advocate from the experience of a working-class and immigrant perspective, and not be intimidated by our narrow elites and their echo chambers. To keep an international perspective and a positive mindset. “Everything is awful” is as unproductive and phony as “Everything is awesome” :) Keep a wicked laugh!
Q ~ Any awards, honors or notoriety?
A ~ There is an archived interview with StoryCorp oral history project in the U.S. Library of Congress with Michael Brundage. I was a participant on WXXI TV “Talking Abbey” talking about one of my favorite shows, Downton Abbey, in 2015.